An update from Uganda!
Greetings to you in the precious name of our Lord, Jesus Christ! It has been an exciting month! As previously shared, one of the main reasons I am here is to facilitate Initial Equipping Sessions for Trauma Healing with my 2 co-facilitators, Sam and Suzie Davis. At this stage, we have completed 2 equipping sessions and have certified 30 (26 Ugandans and 4 Americans) as apprentice facilitators! Praise God for this great gift to be here, equipping others to offer hope and healing to their communities! The first equipping session took place at Good Shepherds Fold, an orphanage outside of Jinja. It was a full 3 days of training but a blessing to spend time with their social workers, nurse, administration, and others. For many of them to participate they had to write a proposal as to how the trauma healing group they participated in earlier this year benefited them, explain their desire to lead a trauma healing group, and propose the logistics of when their first group will start, how often they will meet, and where it will be held and with whom. One of the women explained her desire to lead a group, “I believe there are a number of people who have gone through difficult situations and have lost hope. I believe in restoration of hope to the hopeless and healing of the brokenhearted especially by pointing them to the Cross.”
Our second equipping session was spread across the month, occurring on the weekends. This group is made up of young adults (about 24 to 30 years old) that are a part of Quest Ministries. They work in various professions so it was a huge commitment to meet over the weekends for their training. One of the women involved with this equipping session is connected to the Baptist Theological Seminary and is starting her healing groups with the students who graduate from seminary-they are implementing this as a part of their curriculum, which is huge as it is such a complement of basic mental health principles combined with a solid Biblical foundation! How exciting to watch God move. Here is some of the feedback we received from these sessions.
“The most helpful lesson was taking our pain to the Cross. It helped me pour out my pain to Christ and helped me open up-it helped me to know that God still cares for me even when I am undergoing challenges. It has also helped me process my healing. Thanks for availing your time to share the knowledge you have with us and I am looking forward to sharing out what I have acquired with others.”
“I am feeling better to help others, I have experienced my own healing, and I have learned many new things like the practical ways to heal trauma. Thank you for this program. I am inspired, energized, and ready to start.”
“It has encouraged me a lot. I am excited about being able to take what I have learned and use it to encourage and walk alongside others who are dealing with trauma. Thank you for taking the time to pour into others and to equip people to help those who are experiencing trauma.”
In other news, I came to Uganda with a fairly open schedule that the Lord has quickly filled. I learned early on if you make yourself available for God to use, He sure will! I have done some individual counseling as well as assist in facilitating a trauma healing group at the Jinja Pregnancy Care Center. It is humbling to carry the burdens of others and a privilege to be able to serve in that capacity. Galatians 6:2 (NIV) says, “Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” During this month, the Lord has given me plenty of opportunity to do just that. I wish I could share more about what I have seen the Lord do but that would necessitate breaking confidentiality. One valuable lesson I learned early on in counseling that was reinforced this month as we watched young women pour out their hearts to the Lord in laments and bringing their pain to Him was how much their pain can rub off on you. This can be a burden if we do not learn how to bring their pain to the Lord and lay it at His feet.
We also have offered some mini training's this month on topics such as how to help those who have been raped and how we can as Christian live in the midst of conflict. We also had the opportunity to speak at Ekisa, a ministry that works with kids with special needs. Sixty four of their caregivers sat in on a workshop on secondary trauma, signs they may be experiencing stress and burnout, and practical ways they can care for themselves. Finally, Jinja (the town I am in) sits on Lake Victoria and there are several ministries that take place on the Islands. I had the opportunity to spend several days on Lingira island. It was great to get to see the secondary school and sit in on a few classes as well as spend a day attending a pastors training. We had 38 pastors and wives in attendance for the training, where the topic was focused on marriage, family, and ministry. God has been working here for sure!
For continued physical healing for my mom and the fracture in her back
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Misty Bodkins has a Master's degree in clinical psychology. She has worked both stateside and internationally doing counseling, training, teaching, and research. Her passion is working with people who are in crisis.